Proposal submission open: International Conference on Competence Theory, Research and Practice

Location: Wageningen University, the Netherlands

Time: 19 – 21 October, 2016


  • Proposal submission open: December 1, 2015
  • Conference registration open: January 1, 2016
  • Proposal submission closes: March 21, 2016
  • Decision of proposal acceptation/rejection: May 31, 2016
  • Early bird registration closes: June 30, 2016
  • Registration closes: October 1, 2016


The field of competence studies has grown exponentially. It has gained wide interest in all sectors of education, in various types of organizations, in research and in consultancy. Competence-based education, training and development, competence management and core-competence strategy have been blossoming since the 1960s.

What has theory, research and practical experience with implementing competence solutions brought us? What progress has been made, and to what extent has competence-based practices resulted in improved sustainable performance?

What have competence sceptics said; are their concerns valid? Is competence-based practice an empty shell in the sense that there is a big gap between competence-as-theory and competence-based-strategy?

In current educational and management sciences and practice competence-based strategies are common place. But are the claims of proponents of all competence modelling, assessment and development, which is going on right now, justified?

There is much talk about theories and definitions of competence, and there are many different perspectives. Some speak about exclusive epistemologies by which competence-based practices are being framed as a technical-instrumental; others contend that those practices are integral or holistic, and based on a variety of different knowledge theories.

Various alternative concepts have been brought to the fore to express what is needed to be successful in personal growth, education, employment and societal participation: capabilities, attributes, expertise, talents, excellence and more. The boundaries of these concepts are not clear. Some state that they are just positions on a proficiency scale which ranges from no, via mediocre to excellent competence. Indeed, professional competence can leave much to be desired, but also way over what can be expected. Was the rescue of Apollo XIII a matter of superior expertise, brilliant capability or extreme competence? The question is, does this word game really matter? Essential is that the crew of the mission returned to planet Earth safely. And that all involved were able to solve life threatening challenges. In this melting-pot of contradicting interpretations, is there room for convergence and synthesis? Can different approaches which seem opposite and unbridgeable be reconciled? These, and more, questions will be raised during the international conference on competence theory, research and practice.

Registration: Conference Homepage